#04 - Jere Leinonen: Sustainable SaaS Growth with an ICP Strategy


In this episode, we're joined by Jere Leinonen, to discuss the significance of Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and how to align teams around a common goal using data-driven approaches.

Hosted by Andreas Kongstad, this episode dives deep into practical strategies for maintaining high retention rates and fostering cross-functional collaboration in SaaS companies.

In this episode

Join us as we dive deep into the importance of Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) with Jere Leinonen, Revenue Operations Manager. Jere, who has a background in customer success and operations, has a wealth of experience in helping SaaS companies align their teams toward common objectives.

This episode discusses the critical role of ICPs in achieving high net retention rates, using data to define and identify ideal customers, and the significance of aligning different departments to work towards shared goals. Jere emphasizes, “it’s not where it's easiest to sell, but it's actually the set of companies that will be the happiest with you, where you are the best fit for their problem and they want to actually renew and grow with you.”

Key Takeaways

  1. The Importance of Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs): Focusing on retention over ease of sale.
  2. Aligning teams around a common goal: Breaking down silos across departments.
  3. Using data to define and identify ICPs: Employing retention metrics over conversion metrics.
  4. Incentivizing sales teams to stick to ICPs: Aligning compensation plans with company goals.
  5. The role of revenue operations in SaaS: Facilitating cross-functional alignment.
  6. Cross-functional collaboration for business success: Leveraging effective communication and shared metrics.


The Importance of Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)

Jere discusses the significance of using Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) in driving business growth. An ICP is essentially a set of companies where you can achieve over 100% net retention. Instead of focusing on where it's easiest to sell, the emphasis should be on creating a customer base that’s genuinely invested in your product.

  • Data-driven approach: Focus on which customer segments have the highest retention rates, rather than the highest conversion rates.
  • Retention over conversion: Prioritize identifying customers who are likely to stay and grow with your company.
  • Long-term success: Strong retention indicates better product fit and ongoing customer satisfaction.

Aligning Teams Around a Common Goal

One of the episode’s core discussions revolves around the need to align different departments within the company to work towards the same goal. Jere explains that it is easy for teams to become siloed, each focusing on their metrics rather than the company’s overall success.

  • Break silos: Ensure that all teams, including CS, sales, marketing, and product development, work toward common objectives.
  • Unified approach: Foster an environment where each team understands and values the importance of ICPs.
  • Consistent metrics: Use shared metrics to ensure that everyone is on track.

Using Data to Define and Identify ICPs

Jere shares his approach on utilizing data to shape and refine ICPs. By focusing on retention data, rather than simple conversion metrics, companies can more accurately identify their ideal customers.

  • Retention data: Use retention numbers to segment and define your ICP.
  • Segment analysis: Break down customers by firmographic data, industry, company size, and product usage.
  • Iterative process: Continuously analyze, segment, and refine your ICPs based on data insights.

Incentivizing Sales Teams to Stick to ICPs

A key challenge discussed is ensuring sales teams stick to selling within the ICP. Jere found that aligning compensation plans with company goals was essential.

  • Incentives and compensation: Align sales team’s compensation with ICP goals.
  • Clear guidelines: Define which deals qualify for commission based on ICP criteria.
  • Sales motivation: Ensure sales teams understand the long-term benefits and higher earning potential of following ICP guidelines.

The Role of Revenue Operations in SaaS

Jere emphasizes the critical function of Revenue Operations in aligning the entire company around its ICPs. By eliminating silos and fostering cross-functional collaboration, RevOps helps the company maintain focus on common goals.

  • Central coordination: Revenue Operations bridges gaps between various departments.
  • Data integration: Ensures all teams have access to and understand critical data.
  • Strategic alignment: Guides all departments to align their strategies



  • (00:01) Introduction to the Importance of ICPs
  • (02:12) Defining Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)
  • (04:46) Using Data to Identify ICPs
  • (07:23) Ideal Retention Metrics for Different Segments
  • (09:37) Aligning Sales to ICPs with Compensation Plans
  • (13:46) Implementing Changes in Sales Compensation
  • (17:16) Role of Revenue Operations in Aligning Teams
  • (19:57) Ensuring Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • (21:31) Tools and Metrics for Alignment
  • (26:20) Jere’s Key Learning and Insights


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